Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/135

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97
HIS LIFE, POEMS AND SPEECHES.

on board the Gazelle. There, penciled in a bold, handsome hand, is the first draft of his "Withered Snowdrops," with several pages of his "Uncle Ned's Tales," and a rather weak effusion which never grew any stronger, and which he gravely introduces with the words: "The following little poem is an exquisite bit of—rubbish."

Over the nom de plume of "Old Blowhard, Mariner," he writes a lot of breezy fun, such as the following, which will be enjoyed less for its humor than as an indication of the author's light-heartedness and ready touch with the spirit of his surroundings. It follows a serious signal code in Hathaway's writing, and is entitled:

WHALING SIGNALS-LAST EDITION.

BY OLD BLOWHARD.

Flag at main—Whales up.
Flag at mizzen—Whales down.
Jib hauled up and down—Can't see any whales.
Foretopsail hauled up and down—Look out.
All the sails on the ship hauled up and down—Whales somewhere.
Steward at the main—Go farther off.
Steward waves his hat—Whales all round the ship.
Lee clew of spanker boom hauled up—Whales going to windward.

In another place he writes the following:

RULES TO BE OBSERVED BY WHALE SHIPS IN CASE OF FIRE BY NIGHT.

1. When the officer on deck discovers that there is fire in the ship, he will wait with patience until he sees the flames, which will show him exactly where the fire is. He will then proceed at once to call the cook.

2. He will call the captain and officers by shouting down the cabin: "I think the ship is on fire."

3. He will then shake the reefs out of the foresail, and haul up the bunt of the mizzen topmast staysail, at the same time letting the ship luff about seventeen points.

4. He will then ring the bell, shout, and fire bomb-lances down the cabin stairs, to bring every one to a sense of danger.

5. When the captain comes on deck, he will at once send two men to each masthead to cry "Fire!" then he will take off the fore and